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Polar Perspectives No. 16 | Icy Routes to Safety: A Humane Approach to Managing Ambitions of Refugee Weaponization at the European Arctic Border with Russia

Title page for Polar Perspectives 16
Title page for Polar Perspectives 16

In the 16th installment of the Polar Perspectives series, author Pauline Baudu sheds light on the complex geopolitical dynamics surrounding migration in the European Arctic, particularly in light of Finland's recent accession to NATO and the war in Ukraine. Drawing on historical precedents and recent developments, she discusses how Russia may be leveraging Arctic refugee routes against its Nordic neighbors, Finland and Norway, and proposes policy options for addressing this challenge in a humane manner. The analysis highlights the vulnerabilities of Arctic borderlands to hybrid tactics and calls for coherent policies that prioritize societal resilience and counteract double standards in migration narratives. Reframing migration as an opportunity and promoting equal solidarity are identified as essential steps towards preventing the weaponization of vulnerable refugees in the region.

About the Author

Photo of Pauline Baudu

Pauline Baudu

Senior Fellow, Arctic360 and Research Fellow, Chaire Raoul Dandurand in Strategic and Diplomatic Studies

Polar Institute

Since its inception in 2017, the Polar Institute has become a premier forum for discussion and policy analysis of Arctic and Antarctic issues, and is known in Washington, DC and elsewhere as the Arctic Public Square. The Institute holistically studies the central policy issues facing these regions—with an emphasis on Arctic governance, climate change, economic development, scientific research, security, and Indigenous communities—and communicates trusted analysis to policymakers and other stakeholders.  Read more